Nigerian Ola Adeogun’s availability couldn’t have come at a better time for San Beda.
Suspended for the first four games of the season, Adeogun made an auspicious debut for the Red Lions, powering the defending champions to an 81-65 rout of the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
With the victory, the Lions improved to 4-1 to grab a share of the lead with Perpetual Help Altas, who later crushed St. Benilde, 84-64.
Earl Thompson flirted with a triple-double finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in 27 minutes on the floor.
The Altas broke away in the third period, where they outscored the Blazers, 28-7, to turn a three-point deficit into a commanding 57-39 lead heading into the last quarter.
“Our good start helped the team gain confidence,” said Perpetual Help coach Aric del Rosario, whose squad scored 25 points off 26 St. Benilde turnovers.
Adeogun came through with nine points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked four shots, aside from helping neutralize the Generals’ Cameroonian center Happy Noubi, who failed to make an impact in the second half.
“I’m just happy to be playing,” said Adeogun, who was suspended for his role in the brawl on the sidelines of an NCAA women’s volleyball game last December.
Rome dela Rosa and Baser Amer led the charge with 15 points each as the Lions found their groove in the middle quarters and threw a tight defensive blanket to finish off the Generals, who dropped to the cellar at 1-4.
The Senior scores:
SAN BEDA 81—Dela Rosa 15, Amer 15, Caram 13, J. Pascual 11, Adeogun 9, Lim 8, K. Pascual 4, Dela Cruz 4, Mendoza 2, Koga 0.
EAC 65—Jamon 18, Happi 14, Monteclaro 10, Tayongtong 5, Yaya 5, Munsayac 5, Sanchez 4, Morada 2, Chiong 2, King 0.
Quarters: 15-16, 40-33, 65-49, 81-65
PERPETUAL HELP 84—Thompson 16, Vidal 16, Omorogbe 14, Paulino 11, Elopre 10, Babayemi 7, Arboleda 6, Asuncion 2, Allen 2, Cenita 0, Jolangcob 0, Alano 0.
ST. BENILDE 64—Grey 13, Tolentino 10, Romero 10, Taha 7, Bartolo 6, Lastimosa 5, Sinco 4, Altamirano 3, Ongteco 2, Garcia 2, Carlos 2, Maconocido 0, Deles 0.
Quarters: 18-17, 29-32, 57-39, 84-64